Saturday, April 14, 2007

The New York Times sports columnist Harvey Araton on basketball coach Michael Ray Richardson's firing

The New York Times's sports columnist Harvey Araton had a spot-on column in yesterday's paper on Michael Ray Richardson. He nails the issue and argues that Richardson is "an endearing soul with a nsaty habit of making trouble for himself."

But Richardson quickly recognized his mistake and tried to set things straight [no pun intended]. He called the fan he had insulted with an anti-gay slur the next day and apologized.

He then contacted Commissioner David Stern and former NETS owner Joe Taub and a long time supporter. Both men are Jews and have been paternal figures for Richardson. Stern wisely notes that Richard played ball in Israel and
knows the Middle East is a tough neighborhood. Saying Jewish people have to be smart to survive, doesn't strike me as antisemitic.
Ain't that the truth.

Stern had banished Richardson for failing a drug test in 1986. Richardson then went off to play in Italy and Israel. Ten years later Richardson thanked Stern for "setting him straight."

I join Araton in hoping that someone reaches out to help this man. He deserves it.

Maybe if someone had done the same thing for Don Imus years ago -- kicked him off the air the first time he used a racial, antisemitic, or homophobic slur -- instead of letting him get away with his outrages, he would not be looking for a job [which he will certainly find] right now.

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